Monday, July 7, 2008

JULY 7, 2008

A new service called allows drivers to fill up their tanks sometime in the future but at current prices, using a debit-like card which banks gallons rather than dollars.

“The price of gasoline was changing all the time. It seemed unpredictable,” Steven Verona, founder and owner of the Miami-based company, said on Monday. “It seemed there had to be a way to fix the price,” he said. Working on the assumption that the price of gas will continue to rise, Verona started about two and a half years ago to put together the company which gives the driver some measure of control of what he pays for gasoline.

Since a soft launch in January, about 2,000 people have signed up with to be able to help them find ways to cope with the rising price of gasoline. On Monday, the average retail price for gasoline hit a new record of $4.10 a gallon, rising 1.6 cents over the last week and up $1.14 from a year ago. While the high price of gas has cut demand by about a percent from last year, the record high price of crude oil over $140 a barrel seems to ensure that prices will stay high.

Using regular unleaded gasoline as the benchmark, drivers pre-buy gasoline based on their zip code. determines what that price is based using established providers of oil prices. Drivers using a premium gasoline or premium pay an additional price over benchmark regular gasoline for the higher-priced fuel. At the pump, the driver swipes his MyGallons card like a debit card. said that the card is accepted at over 95 percent of U.S. gas stations.

The risk to the consumer is if the price of gasoline in the future becomes cheaper rather than more expensive. “There is that risk that the price could fall significantly,” said Verona. “But I think that most people would agree that risk is pretty minimal.”

The f-word means you’re fired. Curse words may be standard fare in most offices, but cussing could cost you your job. A survey of more than 2,000 executives conducted by reveals that 36 percent of U.S. bosses have issued a formal warning for swearing, and six percent have actually fired someone for swearing. The survey also found that 81.2 percent of senior executives find a foul-mouthed colleague unacceptable to work alongside in the office. Nearly 100 percent of the respondents believed that the idea of office etiquette does exist and that the majority (69.7%) said they would fire an employee for bad office manners.

Of managers who have terminated employees for office etiquette offenses, the top five most common causes were:

1. Bad language (38.4 percent)
2. Excessive workplace gossip (36.5 percent)
3. Drinking on the job (35.2 percent)
4. Leaving the office without telling anyone (33.6 percent)
5. Too many personal calls (28 percent)

When asked to rate the worst affronts to office etiquette, survey respondents selected the following:

1. Eating someone else's food from the fridge (97.8 percent)
2. Bad hygiene (95.6 percent)
3. Bad habits (88.2 percent)
4. Drinking on the job (85.7 percent)
5. Wastefulness with paper (82 percent)
6. Cooking smelly food in the office microwave (74.1 percent)
7. Sneaking peeks at the BlackBerry in meetings (63.5 percent)

WHO'S YOUR HERO OF CHOICE? poll asked: "Which summer superhero would you want to be saved by?"

Christian Bale's Batman -- 50.68%
Will Smith's Hancock - 27.05%
Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man -- 22.32%

You can vote for your choice at

On Friday, a court in the U.K. ruled that Pringles potato chips are NOT subject to a 17.5% value-added tax (which is basically a form of sales tax) like other potato products... because the chips are only 42% potato.